On paper, everything points to Zaaki coming up trumps in the Group 1 Might And Power, but racing can be a great leveller.
There have been shock results over the decades with one memorable one being Ajax who was beaten as a 1/40 favourite in the 1939 Rawson Stakes at Rosehill.
In her unbeaten career of 25 starts, only once did Black Caviar start in “black figures” that being her debut win at Flemington, while the shortest price she started was at $1.02 in winning the Australia Stakes at The Valley in 2012.
Zaaki won’t be those figures in Saturday’s 2000m Group 1 contest at The Valley, but he was the $1.25 favourite with TAB in latest betting with Probabeel an easing $6.50 second favourite.
Homesman sits on the third line at $11 and has raced Zaaki twice previously.
He finished seven lengths astern in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast in May before running second, beaten 1-½ lengths, in the Group 2 Q22 (2200m) at Eagle Farm the following month.
Trained by Anthony and Sam Freedman, Homesman has had one start since that race, finishing second to Secret Blaze in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at The Valley on September 24.
Sam Freedman is hopeful, rather than confident of toppling Zaaki on Saturday.
“He ran a very bold race behind him up there in Queensland when he got beaten a length-and-a-half and I actually think he’s going better now than what he was up there,” Freedman told RSN.
“He’s taken very good improvement from that run at The Valley, and I don’t know if we can beat him, but I’m pretty confident that he can be running in the quinella.”
The Might And Power, or Caulfield Stakes as it was known, has not been a good race for Homesman.
After winning the 2018 Underwood Stakes (1800m), Homesman finished seventh in Caulfield Stakes, then the following year after running second in the Underwood, Homesman finished sixth to Cape Of Good Hope in the Caulfield Stakes.
Zaaki enters Saturday’s race having won the Underwood Stakes at Sandown on September 25.
Freedman said with No Effort the likely leader on Saturday, the stable will not be tying down jockey Jye Mcneil with too many instructions.
“Knowing Willo (Craig Williams on Zaaki), I would expect him to roll over and ride him like he’s the best horse and sit second and we might be happy to follow him everywhere he goes,” Freedman said.
“Or we might be in front of him. That will be left up to largely the scenario of the race being a small field and it doesn’t require too many instructions.”